Demand for gas masks in Israel quadrupled on Tuesday as reports poured in that the US and Britain were just days away from attacking Syria over its use of chemical weapons against civilian populations.
Commercial airline pilots told British newspaper the Guardian that they had spotted a large number of military aircraft converging on the British air force base in Cyprus, just 100 miles from Syria.
At the same time, US Secretary of State John Kerry publicly denounced the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, and his boss, President Barack Obama, reportedly ordered his advisors to draft a document justifying military action against Syria without a UN mandate.
In the shadow of this looming threat, Israel's Channel 2 News reported that the families of leading Syrian politicians and military figures were fleeing the country.
Meanwhile, the Assad regime again threatened that any Western attack on Syria would result in a Syrian assault on neighboring Israel. Syria's Deputy Information Minister Halaf Al-Maftah said that in such a scenario, Israel would face not only Syria, but a coalition that also included Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and various terrorist organizations.
Syria is believed to have one of the largest chemical weapons arsenals in the world, and if it has used these weapons against its own population, there is concern it would have no problem employing them against the hated "Zionist entity."
However, Israeli military officials reiterated that Syria was unlikely to take any serious direct action against the Jewish state. Israel's response to any major Syrian attack would be crushing, and the Assad regime knows that it could not survive a war against the combined forces of the US, UK and Israel.